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Genesis of a Historical Novel

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Saturn riding high

Steady, heavy, cold rain. Awoke just before 5:00 and lay awake with dark thoughts, dark feelings. They were more far-reaching and life-centered than just the usual thoughts about my project--although that made its appearance too. These dark thoughts and feelings have had me studying my astrological transits in the morning instead of pushing ahead with my writing, which I just don't feel like in this state of mind. What wise counsel would I give myself if I were my own astrological client?

The planet Saturn, which astrologer Zip Dobyns calls "the report card planet" and which represents the reality principle in general, as each of us conceives it to be. It's the "reality" being referred to when people talk about being "realistic" and having to deal with "reality"--hard-edged facts that don't bend to suit the dreams or hopes of individuals. Here is what astrologer Robert Hand says about Saturn (slightly compressed):

Saturn represents the way you experience the universe as you have structured it. The location of transiting Saturn in your chart indicates the part of your life that is being examined and tested, the areas of greatest tension in your life, to which you must direct your closest attention. The planets that Saturn transits in your natal chart represent energies in your life that are being challenged and behavior patterns that require examination.

In my chart Saturn is transiting through the 10th house at the top: the house of career, social prestige, and fame. Saturn visits this house for about two and a half years out of every 29 for all of us, and usually the transit coincides with times of greatest success and responsibility in our lives. If you are ever going to lead or direct others, it will generally be while Saturn is transiting your 10th. Saturn's last transit through my 10th was in 1976, when I was in grade 12. I was involved in filmmaking at the time, and did indeed direct others in the making of a short 16mm film called "Nine Minutes", which went on to compete at the Canadian Student Film Festival in Montreal in 1977. Also in 1976, I and my co-producers won the B.C. Student Film Festival for an earlier 8mm film called "The Device". These kinds of accolades are also characteristic of Saturn culminating in one's chart.

No such events are present in my life right now. I expected much of myself, knowing that at age 17 or 18 I was too young to really make a name for myself--that would have to wait until I had done more. I looked far ahead to the time in my mid-40s when the next Saturn culmination would come, and expected significant achievement of myself.

It hasn't quite gone according to plan. I am something more than half, maybe much more than half (including outlining), the way through the first draft of my historical epic, but "realistically" it is still a good year away from being even close to finished, and more than that before I will be seeking an audience for it. Saturn will be moving on to my 11th house of associations, ideals, and goals--a time typically in each of our lives when we are getting used to the success earned in the previous Saturn cycle and are including others in our limelight. Our minds are gradually moving on to new things: new horizons, new ideas. The things that brought us to the top of the cycle are starting to get old.

Of course, I'm different from most people, in that the Sun in my chart is placed in the 4th house of domestic life and one's inner world--opposite the 10th of career and fame. This means that just as Saturn is culminating at the top of the chart, in my 10th house, it is also opposing the Sun in my 4th. This opposition to the Sun is a low point in one's life, when one usually feels fatigued, blocked, and barely able to meet life's demands. This is a 29-year low point in life, when one is urged not to pursue projects too ambitiously. It is often a time of defeats as one recognizes that certain projects have not panned out.

The high point in the Saturn-Sun cycle is when Saturn conjoins the Sun. In my case, this happened 14 years ago in 1991, while Warren and I were working hard at writing the first episodes of The Odyssey in an effort to get the CBC to pick up the series for production. The network gave us the green light to make the first episodes in December 1991. It was indeed a career high, although Warren and I were far from famous, and had none of the power or influence that comes when transiting Saturn is high in one's chart.

There is much more at stake and in play than what I have outlined here. But in terms only of this project, The Mission, my concern is this: that after this grinding transit of Saturn through the 10th I will find that my novel no longer meets my expressive needs--it will have outlived its usefulness. In short: that it will be one of those stillborn projects that dies with Saturn-opposition-Sun, and after the smoke clears some other thing will be what carries me again to an invisible but busy personal peak in another 14 years.

However, now is not the time to be making any such decisions. The advice that goes with Saturn transiting the 10th house is always: keep going. Work hard at the responsibilities you've already got, it's no time to let up. I'll do my best, but there are individual factors at work in my chart that will make this difficult going indeed, I think.

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